Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Goodbye, Leo

In 1995, some kids in a Bremerton street were playing with kittens like they were toys. Let's leave it at that. Animals are not toys.

Leo and Fearless
Leo was one of them. Tiny, skinny, white, with wispy soft fur and sore sunburned ears. Got him home, and he drank and drank water, ate as much as he could hold, and passed out on the couch asleep. 

Reason for name: He had a charcoal upside-down V on his head, a "mark," and St. Mark's animal is the lion, so, of course - Leo. I'm a Leo, too. The mark faded over the years, until he was completely white.

We had a lot of desperate rescue cats underfoot. Food and water sat on the kitchen floor. We were busy. By the time anybody noticed what had happened, Leo had ballooned up into the Fat Boy he'd be the rest of his life. In his last days, he was called regal.

Leo and Bluebear
He was with us for 20 years.

Many of you remember the lordly, bossy, white - and possible - Turkish Van who purred up at you from the couch or floor when you came in the door.

As a half-grown boy, he terrorized a block watch meeting with great glee and verve. And an obviously long-dead robin chick, that came apart more every time he dashed through the back cat door and came flipping about its increasingly disarticulated and lengthening carcass, throwing feathers and panic, before tearing back through the door with a great clack.

Fearless and Leo
The third time he stormed in, he was swinging the appalling leg-waving bird like a golf-club. It was the end of the blockwatch meeting, as everybody jumped back to miss the pair of them.

One woman - a nice church lady who would never swear - leaped to her feet and roared, "Get your nasty-ass dead bird out of here!" Leo romped back out, swinging his horrible avian toy like a victory flag. His work was done.

He was mother to all the new cats, especially to two tiny kittens nicknamed The Potatoes - Fearless and her brother Shadow. He even let Shadow suckle on him. Shadow and Fearless kept him warm and snug until the end.

Shadow and Leo in the Snuggery
Bluebear, a stuffed toy found at the mouth of the Clallam river, showing signs of having come from Japan the hard way, was cleaned, re-stuffed, and soon became Leo's best toy.

When Leo was diagnosed with failing kidneys in January, 2015, I began to pet Shadow a lot more. Shadow was always shy and scary, but Leo was his best friend. They snuggled and hugged themselves to sleep a lot. I knew Shadow would miss Leo badly before long, so I made a point of petting and holding the reluctant Shadow. He got so he liked being petted. This worked when the time came.

Last summer, Dan and I got very sick. Some kind of 'flu. And could do nothing but lie in the sun in backyard, or sit in a chair and read.

Leo sleeping in the yard.
When the neighbor's dog came down the yard and Leo got up to hiss him away, I finally got the materials to built a backyard fence, and put it up quickly, sick or no. Then I let the cage chickens loose and they joined us all, Leo making sure they stayed off his plastic carpet. He loved having his family out in the sun on a blanket, under the California Lilac's dappled shade.

After the sunny days ended, in October, we never thought Leo would get another day in the sun, but this year he did, and grumped when we made him come in out of the evening cold.

On March, 2, 2015, Leo passed from us in front of a wood stove, on an old Marine blanket, after a year of fluids and medication and treats. He got a last summer in the sun in the back yard. A local store drained beef-liver blood so he could have it to lap up in a bowl. It did him good.
Big Mo, Leo, and Jim in the yard.

He probably died as the sun topped the ridge. His blanket was still warm. His right paw was curled in contentment. His last moment had been a good one.

So many people in social media  - old friends and new -  wished Leo well, and genuinely helped with suggestions and instructions. 

We miss him so much.

Maybe more later.

Goodbye Leo. Goodbye, sweet man.

Leo in bed. Red is his color.
Beef blood drained by a local store for the old man.
Note the tiny red Van Dyke.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Little Comicons Spreading on the Peninsula

Took me three hours driving each way, and in the dark, but Steve Strout's Comic Swap Meet in Chimakum was worth it. Check out that link to see the guest list.

This is Steve's second event - if I don't miss my guess - and took place in the Tri-Area Community Hall. There was plenty of space for local artists and publishers, plus a separate gaming room.
My Ka-Blam tshirt, and one of the books -
helping me get comics-sized reprints (with extra
color pages) into the hands of the readers!
Get 'em at Indyplanet.

Steve's show is more traditional comics and gaming, while my Clallam Bay Comicon is more like the more modern Short Run in Seattle. None of them charge any admission, and tables go for very low prices.

The small-show local model allows costs to be kept down, and local people to enjoy a comicon. This is important, these days, when people can't get to or afford the bigger shows like San Diego and Emerald City. The pace is less frenetic, and people get to really talk to readers, buyers and other artists. 

I have to admit I started my comicon because I wanted one I could literally walk to. Since I do most of my shows online, mine is about bringing comics out to a rural area, where people can learn and love. Now Chimikum has their own show, and we all need to get the word out, not only to us - and we're willing to go the distance - but to the local folks.

Small towns go from suspicion and fear of nerds, to welcoming all these nice people who bring money into the economy. This is why it's important to mention to any business you patronize to buy food or gas, etc., while attending the comicon, that you're with the comicon. They'll want you back! And you'll support local nerds against the bullying that is slowly beginning to crumble. 

Because: we're nice people, we bring money - and we don't move in, like a bunch of tourists or retirees. We're city people, we go home - and we come back to towns that are nice to us.

See you all in July - check out the 2015 link above!

Note: I believe Steve has another show in Summer, which I'll attend for sure. This winter show and its night-driving is way too hard on my weak eyes, especially since all the oncoming cars have such awfully bright headlights, now. Unless somebody wants the bottle of fancy beer somebody local will take to let me crash on the couch, just for that night. :P

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

ShortRun Hooked

Me and Mark.
I am so going back to ShortRun, the Seattle Indie comics, zines, blah blah festival. It was a chance to see old friends again, like Mark Campos, here. 

Roberta Gregory shared the table with me, and wished she'd brought more of her Cat Toons books. She had to leave for work after a couple hours, but I could have sold a lot more of those books. Unlike my books, which take a lot of marketing - and cough drops - Roberta's books sell themselves.

Got to see Gary Groth, the surviving owner of The Comics Journal. He'd just written a long article talking about webcomics, so I clued him in that webcomics are like the old periodicals - but free or for low cost - that build a market for hard-copy collections. He'd never heard of ProjectWonderful, and after hearing my description of the micro-payment ad-bidding format, said he wanted to look it up, so there's more grist for the TCG mill. Maybe a more up-to-date article in the future. Always love seeing Gary, old buds from way back.

The show was held in Washington Hall, a handsome building from what looks like the turn of the last century, or the 1920's - someplace in there, when women wore a lot more beads.

Speaking of "wearing," everybody stepped it up for the show. They were dressed in their best. And unlike so many fan groups, it's a place where the question of the safety of women and children never even came up. When I mentioned it, people were, "Oh - yeah. You're right." Everybody's treated as an equal. 

Of course the show is run by three women, which makes it like my Clallam Bay Comicon. Us girls aren't in love with the process. We just want to put on a good show and enjoy ourselves. Like my show, ShortRun has no admission fees.

Wonderful books and art and people. And the bake sale - which includes gluten-free goodies. And that hot coffee you need to keep going for a Seattle show.

This is me in my Ka-Blam Tshirt. Earning more printing money. The Indyplanet reprints were a great hit, and I walked out of there with a much skinnier bundle of $1 bills - they'd been exchanged for a great run of sales. 

ShortRun, as I understand, was originally for zines and hand-bound books and pamphlets. But as the show has expanded, so has the definition. Since print-on-demand can turn out any number of books - even though there is no end to the number itself - it's technically a short run of books. Again, girls aren't in love with any process, but the show itself.

After the show and a supper break, everybody was back to watch The Shivas perform their infective version of punk surf-rock. I know I kept warm, bouncing up and down. Couldn't stay for the whole show, but it was sold out, so I could give my place to a young woman who was next in line.

For those of you who need a near-by place to eat supper, Seattle's R&L Home of Good Bar-B-Que is just up the Yesler Hill, on the north side of the street. But when they ask which sauce you want, say "Mild." No, really. There's no reason the place shouldn't be packed for ShortRun.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Coloring Afterdead

Coloring all the black-and-white Afterdead stories for use as webcomics.

The color files can then be used on Amazon's Createspace for full-color books at a decent price.

Here's the second page of "Keeper," and the Desert Peach discovering that, wherever he may be now, there be harpies.

Friday, October 3, 2014

My Part In The New Volunteer Army

Okay, I gotta admit this.

I'm the one drew "Sam Volar."

You're going, Who? What? Huh? 

Not a big surprise. A very minor moment in military cartooning, my contribution to the Army's trying to redesign itself after it finally got it through its thick head that the draft wasn't to everybody's taste. 

It's the new face of the Volunteer Army - the people who were tired of the draftees calling them "Lifers." (Okay, the Lifers got back at them by stealing their story and building a military that's just a WPA works program, but we get nothing back for our money. And a lot of the involuntary soldiers wanted nothing more to do with the military, so the Lifer fanboys got to keep the story, drag us all into their fandom - kind of like they did to make Vietnam, because WWII as over, and they wanted another big convention, like really bad Batman fans or something.)

And yet there is irony. You think I did this voluntarily? As the Madigan Hospital Commanding General's Little Pet Teletype Operator, I got told I was going to enter, and that was an order.

The hospital had discovered I could draw, so if any of you from 1971-73 at Fort Lewis remember the posters, cards, signs and general cartoon slathering around the post and the hospital at the time, blame me. I was as volunteered, paid-extra, trained-up as a WAC drill instructor - in other words, not at all.

However, when my cartoon was chosen for the face of the new campaign, I did get a $50 US savings bond. And to shake the hand of the Fort Lewis commanding general, who was all happy, because he liked girls so much he would even come to the WAC company teas.

Which savings bond came in handy when Sergeant Major Stines came around growling during one of the bond campaigns to know if I had a Savings Bond, and I could answer that I did.

Thank you very much, Sergeant Jerry Gift, for blowing my cover and laughing, "Sar'n Major, she WON that!"

I'm lucky I still HAVE an ass. Command Sergeant Majors have SHARP teeth.

Note: I wasn't finding anything about Sam on the internet, even though Dan says he saw him in The Stars And Stripes newspaper, while he was in Vietnam, before we met, but then I found this tiny envelope on the floor of the studio, addressed long ago to my parents - and there in the envelope was the cartoon on this page. 

I'd been sending my correspondence to San Diego State Special Collections, and this one must have slipped out. Just when I need it.

Sometimes the Gremlins are nice.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

2015 Clallam Bay Comicon Panels and Events


Caravan Road Trip: Attendees are planning car pools and caravan from Seattle, best along Highway 101 past Lake Crescent (visit recommended), then up Highway 113 to 113-112 junction to Clallam Bay. To schedule and organize, see the Facebook page.

Sol Duc Hot Springs: Cheap day admission. Bring your swimsuit. Let me know when you're coming. Let's solid up this event, for those arriving Friday on the road trip. Hit the Hungry Bear Restaurant for some solid eats to stoke up for the rest of the drive.

Horror Movie Night; Friday or Sunday (depending on body count): Bring your favorite DVD scare-fest. Because if you don't, I'll bring mine, and then it's "Prophecy 1" and "Warm Bodies." Or for something truly ghastly, guilty pleasure "Trueblood." Hallowe'en is huge up here, so it's never too early to kick off the Dark Times.

SATURDAY 10 am - 5 pm

9 am-10 am: Show set-up (if you plan to get in Friday, you must contact me about  possible early set-up).

10 am: Show officially opens

10 am: Fun Days Parade Lineup. Those who wish to participate in the Fun Days parade, assemble at Weel Road Deli/Shell parking lot. Be fabulous. We need somebody to secure the hall if everybody else leaves. Donna has to cover the parade for local papers; she'll buy you coffee.

11 am-12 Noon: Fun Days Parade

Noon-1: Lunch break. Find Fun Days goodies, including the Lion's Club barbecue, and frybread and Indian Tacos in the bus barn. We have a kitchen. Potlucks and shairsies welcome.

2 pm: How To Draw A Horse Right, Damnit. Donna Barr reprises a classic from San Diego Comicon. Bring paper and pencil or tablets so you can follow along. Will give instructions upon request, so if you want to know about centaurs and ponies, just ask. The more drawings she does, the more she'll have to hand out at the end of the panel. Nonsense will abound. This will be filmed and posted on YouTube. 

5 pm: Show closes for the evening; hall locks up.

Dusk: Fireworks in Sekiu.

SUNDAY 10 am - 5 pm

10 am: Show opens.

Noon-1: Lunch break. What did you all bring?

5:00 pm: ARGGGHHH! Swab-The-Decks Event. Show closes, ALL participants  heave to and make the Lion's Club ship sparkle! Pirate hats optional. Jerry Our Guy loves us for this part.


Caravan Road Trip: Head out along Highway 112 to Port Angeles to complete the road trip look. Take in the beaches! Stop in Port Angeles for a big breakfast someplace, and take off. I'll be along, for sure (I'll bus back home).

To Add a panel:
Email me to make changes or put in a panel or event. FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED. Make up your own stuff, find your own panelists. PANELS ARE ONE HOUR - unless you want to arm-wrestle one of the other panel moderators on the Facebook site. 

Gaming: Gaming has gotten so fun and noisy it will have to be on the porch. But the porch is open and needs plastic to block off the wind - and this will let you go all night, after I need to lock up the hall. So get some cheap rolls of painting plastic, or contact me about what you plan to do. Jerry says we can use hooks if we don't wreck the place (those threatening to turn the porch into a medieval great hall - we'll just get out of your way). 

Security: Absolutely do not leave any outside doors open unless Donna Barr KNOWS it, and why.

Participant Details:

2015 Clallam Bay Comicon

Stickers will again be available. Only a dollar -
Dealers and Panel participants get one for free.
EVERYONE WELCOME. If you make or enjoy any sort of books - including comics - movies, music, poetry, cosplay, Steampunk, gallery art, jewelry, paint cars, bake pies, sing, do stand-up, sculpture, hip-hop, light shows, make frybread, whatever - bring it. Everybody welcome for the 10:00 am Saturday parade starting from the Weel Road Deli (Shell parking lot). 

Note: "We" = Donna Barr. Please everybody hit the bottom of this page for the - ahem - contractual agreements. No way we're mailing out stupid paper contracts for everybody.

First, con reports:
Former year Facebook pages: Construct search as: (Year) Clallam Bay Comicon. IE: 2013 Clallam Bay Comicon, etc.

Now - the 2015 information: 

FACEBOOK LINK (If you want to keep up with ongoing discussions, ask questions, organize a sales rep or living space or panels, yada yada).

July 11-12: During and after Clallam Bay/Sekiu Fun Days 10:00 am - 5 pm Both Saturday and Sunday. 

ADMISSION for public: free. "We don't need no stinkin' badges." You're all special guests to us. And don't have to prove you're pros or amateurs.

BOOTH FEES: $25 ($27.00 Paypal).  CONTACT for payment instructions. You're just renting space, so share if you want. Shipping Over Canadian Border: Shipit2PA 

EXHIBITORS at the convention for 2015:

1: Donna Barr's A Fine Line Press AND Clallam Bay Comicon Central.

2. Page Birmingham.

3. Roberta Gregory - don't miss the Cat Toons books!

4. Charcoal Brown - Illustrator of "Pirates Dream of Me." Writer and illustrator of "Picnicker." 

The newly renovated building - nice job, Lions!
90 Bogachiel Street
Clallam Bay, Olympic Peninsula, Washington State, United States (Take Highway 112 through Clallam Bay. After the hard left, look for liqour store on the right; Bogachiel Street is the next left). Hall, table space, toilet, kitchen, outside lawn, parking.

I am NOT renting the attached fire hall. If YOU want to for events, studios, or Evil Lair, contact me for Lion's Club hookups. DEADLINE for contacting me for all building, etc: February 11, 2015. GAMES: You want games? Find a Gamesmaster and contact us to be put in the Panel schedule. Bring a large roll of plastic sheeting.

MINIONS: If you want to do something at the show, go ahead. Our official movie is "Despicable Me," My official title is "Gru," and if you get yourself hurt or arrested, we'll just laugh and point.

PANELS and EVENTS Link First come, first gets to have their say!

GUESTS: We have no badge fees to deduct, and the tables are cheap, and in our eyes, everybody is special but equal. We're so "ridiculously fun" - and, as we grow, profitable - that everybody's going to show up anyway, just to say they did. Cheap darn housing, too.

AWARDS: Who are we to judge? If your fans love you and buy stuff, you win. If they don't, start marketing your ass better. Watch and learn.

ACCOMADATIONS AND HOUSING OFFICIAL CONVENTION HOTEL: Winter-Summer Inn Bed and Breakfast 360 963 2264 Sold Out - BUT - We don't have a "party floor." Torsten Adair has taken the suite, and is looking for shares - at $30 a night! Contact him on our Facebook page (above), or contact me to help with connections. Large suite, central fire dome, kitchen, seven beds. 
Andre's Court Motel: nice rooms, local. Limited space. 
Sam's RV Resort has camping, $15 a night. Includes laundromat, near upper shopping area; Phone: 360 963 2402 
MORE places. But you'll need a car for most of them.
And More Places!


COMICON EATS: We have a NICE kitchen available, so if you want to bring and sell food, take care of your own licensing or whatever. Or, if you're a participant, and just want to cook - we have a 'fridge and ovens and coffee pots. Potlucks and Sharesies welcome.

HOW TO GET HERE: Take a flight to Port Angeles on Kenmore Air, then take the Forks bus to the the Clallam Bay connection at Sappho; Bus details at Clallam Transit. Or take Olympic Bus Lines from Seattle. Best drive from Seattle: come in on 101, go out on 112 for all the views and fun. Coming from Portland, or other points south? Take the WEST side of the Olympic Peninsula, Highway 101, up through Forks; recommended to Twilight fans. Note: some folks may be planning a bus rock road trip, or a caravan. Go to the Facebook Page to start contacting and planning.

BUSSES IN-COUNTY: $3.00 passes for all-day, hop-on, hop-off service in Clallam County. Lots of routes and scheduling. Schedules, etc.

WI-FI is 24/7 at the library, right around the corner, also at various businesses and the Visitors' Center.

FIRE DISPLAYS: If you want to play Burning Man, contact the District Five Fire Department

LAST-MINUTE PRINTING: Already on the peninsula and forgot something? Need a large print order at the last minute? Olympic Printers are the guys.

CHILDREN: watch your own. Parents, please see * below. 

TRASH: Container in Lion's Club kitchen. SEPARATE THE CANS.

FACILITY CARE: No tape of any sort on the wall. Respect the Lion's Club's wall displays. We all chip in to clean up at the end of the show. It don't take long.

Don't set yourself on fire.

*On-Line Contract: If you attend as a dealer or performer, we'll assume you've read this page's information, and will use it to make your life easier - and it CAN change, up to the start of the show, and possibly afterwards, if we need to. No whining if you don't know the schedule; if we get no notification, we'll just replace you on the spot. Life goes on. Parents, please note your obligations as breeding units.